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The Letters of George Long Brown : A Yankee Merchant on Florida's Antebellum Frontier - James M. Denham

The Letters of George Long Brown

A Yankee Merchant on Florida's Antebellum Frontier

By: James M. Denham (Editor), Keith L. Huneycutt (Editor)

Paperback | 14 May 2024

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Previously unpublished letters offering a view of everyday life in north Florida before the Civil War

In 1840, twenty-three-year-old George Long Brown migrated from New Hampshire to north Florida, a region just emerging from the devastating effects of the Second Seminole War. This volume presents over seventy of Brown's previously unpublished letters to illuminate day-to-day life in pre-Civil War Florida.

Brown's personal and business correspondence narrates his daily activities and his views on politics, labor practices, slavery, fundamentalist religion, and local gossip. Having founded a successful mercantile establishment in Newnansville, Brown traveled the region as far as Savannah and Charleston, purchasing goods from plantations and strengthening social and economic ties in two of the region's most developed cities. In the decade leading up to the Civil War, Brown married into one of the largest slaveholding families in the area and became involved in the slave trade. He also bartered with locals and mingled with the judges, lawyers, and politicians of Alachua County.

The Letters of George Long Brown provides an important eyewitness view of north Florida's transformation from a subsistence and herding community to a market economy based on cotton, timber, and other crops, showing that these changes came about in part due to an increased reliance on slavery. Brown's letters offer the first social and economic history of one of the most important yet little-known frontiers in the antebellum South.

A volume in the series Contested Boundaries, edited by Gene Allen Smith
Industry Reviews
"A solid collection of letters that illuminates how a northerner carved out for himself a home and a life in antebellum North Florida. Anyone interested in commercial and social life in the antebellum US, and Florida in particular, would do well to read this volume." - H-Net

"Brown's letters provide an excellent window onto a wide variety of topics beyond his Florida community and his mercantile activities." - Journal of American History

"An insightful work on the Brown family and antebellum Florida. . . . The book would be welcomed by historians interested in northerners living in the antebellum South and those curious about early Florida state history." - Journal of Southern History

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